Thoughts and scribblings of an overactive mind.

Welcome! Bienvenue! Wilkommen!

I never forget that when I went to nursery there was a big poster on the door that had welcome written in all different languages. I used to look at it everyday and marvel at how funny some of the words looked. It's an odd thing to remember, but such is the way my brain works. I'm constantly remembering, or in another way, i'm constantly never forgetting. There's an important difference there. Anyway, this blog is a reflection of my mind in a way. It will be completely random, I have no planned theme. One day it might be a Doctor Who review, one day it might be a memory, one day it might be something that's really annoyed me. But I hope that everyday it is entertaining, or at the very least, interesting.

Latest

Gay Cake. Gayke?

It seems that the LGBT(plus the other letters, I forget what they are, sorry about it) community and the world of commercial baking are destined to be at odds for all eternity. You sort of imagine that the real-world examples of intolerable intolerance should take place in some kind of grand setting, somewhere with gravitas – like on the steps of a cathedral or a courthouse. It’s almost laughable that the battles we continue to fight actually take place in bakeries – which, if I can indulge in some outdated stereotyping for a moment, are surely some of the gayest businesses around what with all the frothy pink frosting and edible glitter flying around.

There was the Bert & Ernie Nothern Ireland incident, there’s been a smattering of cake refusals across the states in Texas and Colorado, and now the latest is from Ohio, where a woman has been told that the bakery can’t make the birthday cake she wanted because the cake happened to be to celebrate the birthday of her wife. To make it even more heartbreakingly hilarious, the bakery owner did it all over text, and even threw in a smiley as well – to be expected I suppose in 2016, perhaps she could have added a few emojis too, a monkey not baking a cake perhaps, or a pile of poo with googley eyes being flung at a gay couple? And why not a gif as well! We love gifs. A character from a reality show making that “sorry but I’m not sorry” awkward face would have been perfect. Anyway, here is the text:


If you read that and your mouth isn’t now hanging open in a “what the hell?!” kind of fashion then you need to re-read the text until it is. This is atrocious. It’s abominable. It’s despicable and every other words that means downright nasty.

It’s the apology that gets me. They’re so sorry? As though somebody is forcing their hand when they’re making the choice all on their own. And that smiley…….don’t get me started.

The reason why this is so dangerous is because although we’re protected higher up the chain (it’s not illegal, we can get married, we can’t be refused work etc), we don’t live up there. We live down here, on the street, in the bakery. We spend our lives doing all those banal things that “normal” (good god I hate that word) heterosexuals do too. Yes folks, gays are actually real people!  We go to the supermarket, we go to the cinema, we exercise (sometimes), we go to the garden centre on a Sunday and we eat cake, sometimes special bakery made cake. If those little normalities are allowed to be stamped on without remonstration and/or correction then we’re not fully enjoying an equal life. The big triumphs like marriage start to seem a little bit hollow, a bit less real. This kind of casual discrimination cannot be ignored. We must, together, challenge it wherever we find it.

And to those who say that everyone is entitled to an opinion, I say this: you’re wrong. Some opinions are so rotten, so shameful that yes the person can have them but they shouldn’t ever, ever even have the lightest feathery touch on society. And I don’t care about religious freedom – religion has far, far too long been used as a weak excuse to excuse homophobia. You want to discriminate against me on the basis of stories that have little more weight than Goldilocks? Try.  I studied Theology and I’ll tear your faith a new one.

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Chickenosaurus

So, there’s a project in the US to reverse engineer a dinosaur from a chicken. Nuts, I hear you say. Well, not necessarily.

I was thinking about this because after watching my chickens this morning. A butterfly happened to flit through their run and they both immediately turned into velociraptors. Now I see the dinosaur in them all the time, but right there in that moment you could really see it – the way they leapt in the air, making a little predatory snapping noise, it was fascinating.

There’s also been a study of some fossilised T-Rex DNA which has been cross-matched with the DNA of living animals. The one it’s the closest to? The humble chicken.

The next time you see a chicken, take a moment to watch it, to really watch it. Forget, if you can, that it’s a “daft” chicken. Forget all the chicken stereotypes, forget comedy chicken costumes, forget the movie Chicken Run – watch it as an animal. Imagine it in a lush forest. Watch the way it walks, the way it bobs its head and searches for food. Look at its scaly legs and feet. You’ll see it.

Now, the Chickenosaurus project in America could be called ethically dubious by some. They’ve manipulated the DNA of chicken embryos and switched on characteristics that had previously been switched off by evolution. So they’ve developed embryos with snouts instead of beaks, with clawed arms instead of wings. It’s all fascinating stuff. They haven’t yet developed one to the stage of hatching it, but I actually hope that they do. I really do.

Call it playing God or screwing with nature, I don’t care. I think it would be amazing.

What do you think?

Absolutely Fabulous The Movie Review

Let’s prefix this by saying that I love Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley. Comedy legends, actually just legends in general. But……

The movie was a disappointment. Why? *cough cough* not really very funny *cough cough*

The main thing really was that there wasn’t anything new. It was weird, it was very much set in 2016 and one of the themes of the film was how Eddie and Pats were feeling out of touch with modern life. And yet there was actually very little of modern life in there, and because of that I think a lot of comedy opportunities were missed. 

Modern life is ridiculous and hilarious, all the crap you see on social media, the ever growing army of hipsters on the streets, even the way people talk, it’s all “cray cray” this and “bae” that. Eddie and Patsy would have been the perfect mirror to hold up to all of that and rip the piss right out of it, but instead there’s some outlandish plot about Kate Moss getting killed by Eddie. It’s the sort of thing you might expect in Johnny English III (God forbid!) but here it just seems unnecessary.

There are chuckles along the way of course, but they tended to raise a smirking kind of smile rather than a belting out loud laugh. Even as I write this, only a couple of days after watching the film, I’m struggling to think of one specific moment that made me giggle. I know at least a couple of bits did, but I can’t seem to remember them specifically. So that’s not a good sign either.

Joanna Lumley is outstanding as you’d expect, and she savours every line she’s given. In fact all the actors do a great job, it’s just that the material they have to work with just isn’t really there. It felt a bit like the 1990s dressing up as 2016 and sneaking in to the annual barn dance for 2016s. Something just wasn’t quite right, something was missing. We’d been there before.

Before I sign off, I will say that I’m sure writing the movie was no mean feat, so I am in no way disrespecting Jennifer Saunders for her writing ability. She’s an amazing talent. I just think that with this one, she might have missed the mark.

Resurrection!

Well, here we are again. First of January 2013 was the last time I posted on here, three and a half years ago. And look at what I’m going on about! Change! I’m going to change, blah blah, I mean it, blah blah.

What a load of bleeding old rubbish! 

For those who haven’t been in my life, I’ll fill you in. I haven’t change. I’m still the dictionary definition of procrastination and the poster boy for never seeing anything through. Okay, I’m older, I have a few grey hairs now (less than 5% of the total my hairdresser tells me, so no need to reach for the Grecian 2000 just yet), I own a house and I’m married. But the core of who I am: exactly the same.

This does irritate me, because I do want to improve. I really do get cross with myself, I get really hacked off sometimes because I tell you what, the amount of epiphanies and “shit’s gunna get sorted now” moments that I’ve had and still nothing’s changed or happened, it’s ridiculous. And those moments, they start losing their shine after a while. There’s only so many times that you can say “that’s it, I’m changing. Shit got real. Things are going to happen! #yolo” and it actually have some credibility before it just becomes a meaningless mantra.

You know I still love Ugly Betty and I still like to imagine I’m having a moment like Wilhelmina does towards the end of season 4 where she snaps out of being a bit nice and finally goes after the success and power that she so desperately wants. “I want the whole damn company”, she utters with a delightful, silky venom. I like to think I have moments like that where the metaphorical gloves come off, but the truth is it hasn’t really lead to anything fruitful yet. I have the same uninspiring job and my books still aren’t selling – #unsuccessful – so I’m obviously not doing enough.

I don’t know what it is! Why!? Why!? Why can’t I get up off of my lazy arse and get on and do something? Why do I sit on the sofa and stare at my laptop of an evening rather than switching it on and writing something? Why don’t I update my CV? Why don’t I pop into the recruitment agency on my way home? I walk right past it!

So anyway, those are my frustrations du jour. No fixes here. No thoughtful summing up paragraph at the end where I have yet another epiphany. No. No answers. Just questions. 

I say this every year…..

But this year I really mean it. And I believe I mean it too. This year, things will change. It’s time for me to change I think. Not to dwell or linger on anything for too long but I’ve gone on a little bit too melancholy for a little too long now, got into some bad habits. It’s time to re-address some issues, take stock and move forwards. Onwards and upwards, leaving behind some baggage that was weighing me down. I think the problem is half the time that you carry a heavy bag for long enough and then you don’t quite now how to walk alone without it.

Maybe I’ll dye my hair. Yeah.

A change, my dear. And it seems not a moment too soon.

Shamble Bobble Dibble Dooble

Okay, the last two posts were so self pitying that I can’t even re-read them. I have moved on from self pity now, I’m now on a nice dose of self loathing. A writer’s favourite.

Sat down to write this evening. I wrote the beginning of my third promotional short story. It sucks. It stinks. I found it boring to write and boring to read. The concept is great ( thanks Steph) but the way I wrote it was awful! I can do better, I know I can. In the end I knew my heart wasn’t in it so I gave up.

Then I re-read some of my other stuff and I thought hey this is pretty good – but then I was interrupted and now I don’t have time tonight to finish what I started.

Then I get cross at myself for not doing enough. The pressure one puts on oneself is quite enormous. Writers write – if you’re a writer you should be writing and you’re not writing so you must not be a writer! But I am writing in my mind! God if you could just plug brain into computer I’d have done loads! Words can get muddled and meaning can get lost on that journey between brain and keyboard.

I’ve decided though, she’s called Edith.

I need to get more organised. I need charts and schedules and things. A PA would be great, oh and a motivation person – a life coach!!!

Right, I have to go and have a bath.